South Africa wristspinner Imran Tahir is all set for his maiden Big Bash League stint after signing with the Melbourne Renegades for the upcoming season. Renegades have, in fact, made a double signing, also adding Afghanistan left-armer Noor Ahmad to their overseas roster.
Tahir, 41, will miss the first few games of the season and will only be available post Christmas, while 15-year-old Ahmad is expected to fill in for him until then.
“Imran Tahir has excelled in the T20 format right across the world and he’ll provide another genuine wicket-taking threat,” Renegades coach Michael Klinger said. “We’ve [also] been tracking Noor Ahmad closely for more than a year now and although he’s in the early stages of his career, he’s an exciting prospect and he has a few tricks that’ll make life difficult for batsmen.”
Tahir, who is currently plying his trade for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL in the UAE, comes with the experience of more than 300 T20s. However, this will be his first taste of T20 franchise cricket Down Under.
“I’ve watched the Big Bash from afar [and] have admired how competitive it is,” Tahir said. “I’m looking forward to joining my new Renegades team-mates and working hard with them to produce a successful season.”
Ahmad, meanwhile, has already been a part of the title-winning Mis Ainak Knights in the Shpageeza League, where he made his debut under Mohammad Nabi last year. He made an immediate impact and finished as the team’s third-highest wicket-taker with eight scalps, at an impressive economy rate of 6.48. He took 11 wickets in this year’s competition, where the Knights finished second-best.
Ahmad’s foray into T20 leagues would have been with St Lucia Zokus in this year’s Caribbean Premier League but he had to withdraw after failing to procure a transit visa through the UK.
“The Renegades fans and followers of the Big Bash may not know much about Noor at this stage, but I can tell you [that] he is a very exciting talent who I feel has a big future in the game,” Nabi said of Ahmad.
Despite Nabi’s return to the Renegades squad for another year, the team still has another overseas spot vacant, following the recent change of rule that now allows BBL clubs to field three foreign players in their XI.
Renegades will take on Adelaide Strikers in the BBL season opener on December 3.